Kit Perez: You have taught training classes for activists in the past, and last year you started Liberty Rising. Tell me about those efforts and what you plan to accomplish.
Nick Freitas: The big thing we’re focused on with Liberty Rising is “activists, not candidates.” There’s plenty of organizations out there, PACs and others, that support candidates. We wanted something that was going to help activists become more effective. In Virginia, one of the things that we wanted to achieve was for our county committees to become a great deal more empowered when it came to doing everything from outreach, messaging strategy on a philosophical level. But on a practical level, we wanted them to understand that you don’t have to wait around for the campaign to get you yard signs. You can do your own. You don’t need to wait for the campaign to get you talking points. In fact, the most effective talking points you can come up with are when you find local ways to explain the bigger principles that a campaign is running on.
Going back to the whole idea of tax policy, when you talk about it, don’t just say, “Well, it’s saved X number of jobs nationwide,” you need to go find the local business that has been positively affected by it and use that as your example because that’s going to provide that shared reference point with your community. So, teaching people how to have a better philosophical argument but also the practical mechanics of how to run operations at a local level in order to make yourself more effective. That’s really what we’ve focused on with Liberty Rising.
KP: Obviously a lot of people are tired of the entire political system though. They’re sick of the rigged process, they’re tired of writing elected officials who don’t care and don’t listen. They are furious at seeing their liberties disappearing and seeing society celebrate evil things, horrible things, as good. These folks want to do something but they’re done with the standard political action type actions because those things don’t work anymore…what can they do? What do you say to them?
NF: I would say that I completely understand, first of all, being frustrated with the political process, but disengaging from it is not going to make it better. That’s something that just needs to be understood. Sometimes not all the work that you can do in order to engage with the public or defend your liberties is going to be fun or what you want to do, but it has to be done anyway.
One thing that I like to remind people of is that it’s not that I wanted to go to Iraq for two tours and leave my wife and children behind so I could go get shot at. I did it because that’s where the fight was. And sometimes you’ve got to go where the fight is. You don’t get to back away just because you’re frustrated by it. There are a whole lot of people who wear the uniform of this country that would certainly rather be somewhere else but they’re there because they actually believe in something. And it’s not really fair for us to say, “Well we only believe in it when it’s convenient for us.” I think that’s the first thing I would say. I don’t mean that to chastise; I mean that’s the reality of the situation.
The other thing I would say is that there are a number of ways that people can actually move the needle in fundamental ways, whether it’s from an electoral standpoint or a cultural standpoint. The good news is that the best way you can help is to help in a way that you actually do enjoy, that leans into your talents and what you’re passionate about. So if you’re someone who loves to teach, great. I would greatly encourage you to. If you can teach at the college level, do that. If you can teach at an elementary or high school level, if you can go volunteer at a co-op, if you can be a substitute teacher. One of the greatest joys I’ve ever had was teaching at a high school co-op. I loved being able to go in there, and it’s not as if I was tricking anyone; I was very blatant with my syllabus that I put together. In talking to parents, I said, “This is what I’m going to teach and this is the perspective I’m going to teach it from,” and I had an opportunity to have great conversations with the future leaders of the community and the country in that classroom.
If you’re someone that loves the arts and entertainment, God bless you, because we need more people. We have completely ceded Hollywood to the Left. I think it was Wordsworth who once said, “Let me write the songs of a nation; I care not who write its laws,” and that’s because he understood that politics is directly downstream from culture. And we need more people in the arts, in entertainment, that can help share our message and our story in a way that’s actually appealing to people, in a culturally relevant way.
If you’re someone who’s interested in Journalism, again, God bless you. We need more people that are going to go out and ask tough questions of both sides in order to get to the truth. I would say that there are a number of ways that people can assist that plays to their strengths. Let me give another example since you’re in Montana: Are you someone that likes to hunt? Okay, great. Can you work with one of the charities there that helps veterans or children with disabilities? Can you demonstrate that there are private sector ways in order to reach out and help and empower people in your community so we’re not constantly faced with this question every time we say the government should not be doing something: “Well, if the government wouldn’t do it, who would?” Be the answer to that question.
KP: …we have to.
NF: Exactly. And we should be doing it. When I first joined the military, I was a private, my wife and I got married, I was 19, we weren’t making much money, I know what it is to have my power turned off because I can’t pay the bills. And I know what it is to have your family, a friend from church, step in and help you when you needed it. And it’s amazing because the whole psychology of it is so much different than when the government does it. Because when a friend or family member steps in and helps you, you don’t feel entitled — you feel gratitude. You feel the need to reciprocate, to pay it back to somebody else when you’re in a better position. The whole psychology is different.
When the government assumes that role, all of a sudden you no longer feel gratitude, you feel entitled. And you feel dependent. So I think there’s something to be said for finding ways like that to be involved in your families and communities that speaks to the larger cultural issue that we’re trying to address.
KP: So, if you don’t want to play in the political pond, that’s fine; go play in the cultural pond.
NF: Yes, exactly. Because one feeds into the other.
Freitas isn’t running for any office at the moment; he’s focused on his duties as a delegate in Virginia. But if you wanted to know some of what he’s done there, you can check out BullElephant:
As a Delegate, Nick has sponsored legislation that has reduced burdensome state regulations, increased local control of educational decisions, and increased government transparency. He also sponsored House Bill 900, which protects citizens from having their property forcibly seized, requiring there be a proof of guilt to do so. Along with that, with House Bill 2377 he helped to get certain textbooks and other educational materials off of tax doles, saving the taxpayers of Virginia more money.